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Head of Montenegro’s Anti-Corruption Agency Accused of Leaking Officials’ Data

A Montenegrin lawyer, Nikola Angelovski, on Thursday filed a criminal complaint to the Supreme State Prosecutor against the head of the country’s Anti-corruption Agency, Jelena Perovic, accusing her of leaking state officials’ personal data.

Angelovski claims Perovic violated the law, saying she gave a Serbian software company, Prozone, access to thousands of state officials’ personal data.

“To this day, we do not know where that personal data ended up and who, apart from the employees of the Prozone company, had access to that data. Data copy can be misused and shared with an unlimited number of unknown persons, which is very likely to happen given the increase in cybercrime in the world,” Angelovski told the media.

The Anti-corruption Agency signed a contract with Prozone in February 2019. The software developing company from Novi Sad, Serbia, offered to provide the agency with software for processing public officials’ assets data and maintaining its webpage. The agency offered the company a total 250,000 euros for this.

But last December the watchdog MANS accused the Anti-corruption Agency of violating procedures. It said this was because permission was not given by the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data and Free Access to Information before the signing of the contract.

Under Montenegro’s Personal Data Protection Law, processed personal data can be exported to another country or provided for use by an international organization only with the permission of the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data. Foreign companies or organizations must also apply adequate personal data protection measures.

All Montenegrin officials are obliged to periodically submit reports to this agency about their property, incomes, bank debts and their family members’ property. After processing by the agency, those data are published on its web page.

Last September, the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data banned further data processing by Prozone company, saying the Anti-corruption Agency had violated the law.

“Access to personal data on the application is exclusively for Anti-corruption Agency and, according to the contract, Prozone is obliged not to disclose any information related to this data to the public until the expiration or termination of the contract, and for the next ten years,” the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data said in its report.

In December 2022, Perovic said the first contract with the Serbian company was signed by the Anti-corruption Agency’s then head, Dragan Radonjic, at the suggestion of the Justice Ministry.

“Later, we made a contract annex, according to which Prozone has access only to the test base, which does not contain personal data,” Perovic said.

In February 2022, Montenegro’s government confirmed that it will pay compensation of 300 euros each, a total of 816,000 euros, to people on a list ordered to self-isolate during 2020, whose names were then published. According to government data, 2,720 persons filed lawsuits against the state for publishing their names on lists of people ordered to self-isolate.

Source : Balkaninsight